Q: Can you please tell us briefly about your new job?
A: I currently lead the Automotive Sales & Marketing office of NXP in the Silicon Valley. The importance of the Silicon Valley for the automotive industry has significantly increased during the past few years. The trends of electric vehicles and driver assistant systems towards self-driving cars have fuelled growth of many small and large companies located in the Bay Area. It’s hard to find a global car maker or automotive supplier, who does not have an office or engineering center in the Silicon Valley.
The disruptive nature of the Bay Area and the sometimes “unconventional” approach of local companies offer great opportunities. We, as the local team, want to establish NXP as the partner of choice for these players and support them to create winning solutions and successfully tackle the unique challenges in the automotive industry. Our responsibilities go across Sales, Business Development and 1st line technical support.
Furthermore, we try to assist our R&D organization during the product definition phase with our insights on product and solution requirements. Altogether it’s a very fast-pace, highly interesting role with a very broad set of responsibilities.
Q: Has your personal career strategy always been focused on this job? How does this new job fit into your career strategy?
A: I was unfortunately not blessed with the clarity some people have from early on as to what they want to become. So I had a find out for myself. I tested what I liked and tried to discover my strengths and weaknesses. I networked and interviewed a lot of people from all sorts of industries and professions to find out what their job is like. It did take time, but it helped provide the clarity I needed.
Q: How did Talent and Careers and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process? Did you use specific career resources or did you come across useful information via an advisor or alumni?
A: It is tough to answer this question in just a few sentences. Let me start with my expectations on the MBA. I applied for the IE Global-MBA in 2012 (I started in Nov 2013). By that time, I was already in a product marketing position for a few years and was getting a little impatient on how things were working out. Quite honestly, I did not exactly have a career plan and had difficulties to define my next steps.
I thought the MBA at IE might help me with this. I expected two things: the opportunity to broaden my scope with deep knowledge on other industries, as well as professions, and to develop a clear view on my career plan and personal aspirations.
IE helped me to achieve both goals and more. I understood areas where I am strong, areas that needed improvement, and also importantly, what I do not want to do.
How did IE do this for me? Hard to say, as it was not this one key experience, but rather the total journey with support from excellent professors, the IE Talent & Careers team, and fantastic fellow students who became close friends over 18 months.
Q: Would you want to share any tips or advice with student interested in applying to NXP? To your job position in particular?
A: Generally speaking, I would recommend you answer two very basic questions:
- Why do I want this job?
- Why will I be good at this job?
Answering these questions thoroughly requires serious thought. Get a solid understanding on your personal motivations, your aspirations and your individual strengths (& weaknesses). Get clarity on the job you are interested in. You want to be doing something that is fun and you enjoy doing, something where you can leverage your strengths. I strongly believe the more you enjoy your work, the better your results will be. So network like crazy, talk to people in similar roles, learn about the pros and cons. Study the industry and the market dynamics. And of course, contact the IE Talent & Careers office and ask for their support!
In terms of my current industry and role, advice really depends on each individual person. The automotive industry is very technical, especially here in Silicon Valley.
If you are interested in technology and have a solid technical know-how, that’s something you might be able to leverage. Try to combine that with a certain business savviness, something that IE can help you with. You want to enjoy working closely with customers, understanding their viewpoints and helping them to solve their problems. Working in sales, you are the voice of the customer. Clear communication internally and externally is very important. As mentioned previously, the auto industry is experiencing a massive change right now. Some companies are re-engineering the vehicle from scratch and challenging the status-quo. Your strategic thinking can help your organization to set it up for future challenges.
NXP® Semiconductors enables secure connections and infrastructure for a smarter world, advancing solutions that make lives easier, better and safer. As the world leader in secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications, NXP is driving innovation in the secure connected vehicle, end-to-end security & privacy and smart connected solutions markets. Built on more than 60 years of combined experience and expertise, the company has 31,000 employees in more than 33 countries and posted revenue of $9.5 billion in 2016.
As an ambitious team of professionals operating in an incredibly exciting industry, we’re always looking for passionate, talented people who will embrace the freedom and challenges we provide. By choosing NXP as your employer, be prepared to move boldly, accept responsibility and share in the rewards that come from world-class teamwork and a customer-focused passion to win!
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